Uselessness of kata in the real world!

seasoned

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I guess that works because there are plenty of kids who know the alphabet song but can’t read or write.
Your comment definitely sums it up very nicely with few words. Kata is a tool like the alphabet, it is fun to learn but only scratches the surface....
 

Oily Dragon

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Your comment definitely sums it up very nicely with few words. Kata is a tool like the alphabet, it is fun to learn but only scratches the surface....
The funny thing about kata is that the "surface" is a pretty unique thing. It's personal. I dance throughout my house every day but I'm not sure if I can muster this kind of performance art. So it's never really fair to dismiss any kind of routine, some of these people train like crazy, and deserve the gold they're given.

What an audience, by the way. They don't clap until they see the Southern Mantis.

If you listen closely, somebody's phone goes off right about the time he does what the Chinese call "Butterfly Palm Technique". That's some great timing.

The last half is the better part. More elemental.

 
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seasoned

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The funny thing about kata is that the "surface" is a pretty unique thing. It's personal. I dance throughout my house every day but I'm not sure if I can muster this kind of performance art. So it's never really fair to dismiss any kind of routine, some of these people train like crazy, and deserve the gold they're given.
Totally agree. The kata surface is a pretty unique thing. It's used to win trophies also to gauge proficiency and more importantly to tie together the many techniques we call martial arts. Deep down kata can be a lot of fun, where in some dojo it is required to put your own kata together and be tested on it for artistic as well as functional value.
I have always found that if a karate-ka had a great understanding of the teachings of kata, "timing, transitioning and flow" of movement, that it showed up in their sparing ability as well.
My comment about "only scratches the surface' was in no way minimizing effort, but... virtually pointing toward the system within the system of kata which in some of the very traditional dojo would start to realize a more hands on factor of kata such as grappling which is woven into each kata in a very unique way.
What an audience, by the way. They don't clap until they see the Southern Mantis.

If you listen closely, somebody's phone goes off right about the time he does what the Chinese call "Butterfly Palm Technique". That's some great timing.

The last half is the better part. More elemental.

I feel we are on the same page. :)
 

AIKIKENJITSU

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IMO individuals who find kata useless have been incorrectly trained. The brief time I trained with Sherman Harrill from 94 to his death, maybe 60 hours at clinics, he shared 800 applications for Isshinryu's 8 kata. All used to drop someone in every sort of circumstance. Likewise the 'bunkai' I received from Tristan Sutrisno and his father's shotokan studied in Japan in the 1930's has innumerable 'bunkai' all designed to do the same. Ditto for my studies in Chinese arts and tai chi chaun.

IMO the central focus of kata is development of technique force and speed, Application studies work on how every of those movements can break an attacker (figuratively).

If there's no kata there's no karate (as karate is Okinawan). Not to dis other answers they're just not karate no matter what name they use.
You do not need katas for your art to be effective for self defense, but if you like doing katas then keep it up!
Sifu
Puyallup, WA
 

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You do not need katas for your art to be effective for self defense, but if you like doing katas then keep it up!
Sifu
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Correct yet incorrect. You do need forms as well as basics. The way to teach said basics and memorise them without an external supoport such as a book or video having kata is mandatory.

Having practiced various arts I can confirm that to learn all techniques by heart and have access to them from easy memory a kata is helpful. When learning drills and techniques seperately there is no issue to execute them or even have them flow (usually more freely) together.

To truly be considered a martial artist one needs to know their art inside out and be able to pass it entirely without any external support. And the best and simplest way to achieve that id via kata.

On the other hand, as a practitionner, one can focus only on one of the various aspect of martial arts and become extremely proficient in that; as in this case (and the only real thing that matters as per my opinion of martial arts) self defense in the real world. You sure don't need to learn kata to become good in that aspect. However I would like to posit that when at a higher level ones solo practice of a curriculum of self defense, if done without checking a cheat sheet or repeating movements more then once, would look very much like a kata.

So in the end, kata or something very similar will come out of any martial practice...


(I am not even talking about kata competition or that aspect as this is literally child's play and choreography for the sake of choreography.)


Which leads me to also question (sorry to offend) the reasoning of styles that have more then 10 15 kata. As one is to know the bunkai (at least one version of it) for every movement in every kata and be proficient with such movement, either I am an idiot but I cannot fathom to have that much knowledge and proficiency for 60 kata. At that point they are performed for other reasons then actual efficiency and integration into actual combat. Good for historical posterity and ensuring the passing down of knowledge(even tough it may be empty knowledge without said bunkai and true efficiency) in a cultural sense but not necessairly in a martial sense...

Thank you
 

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Correct yet incorrect. You do need forms as well as basics. The way to teach said basics and memorise them without an external supoport such as a book or video having kata is mandatory.
No it's not. Forms are an excellent tool for most. But they are absolutely not mandatory.
 

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I have probably stated this before but...

The way I see it, doing kata correctly requires you to be quite strong, fast, and flexible. And if you are strong, fast, and flexible, you'd probably fair decently well in an altercation with an untrained dude about your same size. Same logic applies to any athlete, really (I personally would not want to square up with a soccer player, for example).
 

Gyuki

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No it's not. Forms are an excellent tool for most. But they are absolutely not mandatory.
If I may clarify, a form would be something as simple as a guard position. A guard position and a jab plus a cross. Knowing proper body mechanics to execute said technique.
I didn't mean forms in a "traditional" way. As yes, those can be more then skipped and still create a very effective "figther". In quotes as for self defence it is less of a fight and more of a being attacked and fighting out to escape safely....
Knowing how to move forwards and backwards side to side without in a way to have efficient power and balance is basic form of all martial arts, combat sport and self defense system. Even self taught combattant have some sort of a guard and way to move of their own. Again, it seems to be something that comes naturally.

I have a bizzare and unusual view on terms and such things. Probably why forms and kata don't mean to me what they may mean to lot of people. And I understand the usual definition and connotation those 2 things have.
I hope I make myself clear when I say that either for their own sake or done to "compete" in either kata or being excellent at doing demonstration is not my perspective on martial arts. It may be fun and exciting to most. Some get to become great stuntpeople and actors/actresses. I am not on the perspective of theater. It is not the way I choose to approach it.
Therefore, I do not use those terms in that sense, I am sorry for not being more clear on that before.


On the other hand, I have seen attempts at passing knowledge without forms (in the sense I mean aka serious practice of movements whichever the art one chooses) and the results are usually less than stellar.

But I may still misunderstand what you meant, if so please I would like further understanding of these concept or how to go about instructing someone who starts from scratch without any forms whatsoever. I am interested in learning more.

Thank you for sharing
 

Gyuki

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No it's not. Forms are an excellent tool for most. But they are absolutely not mandatory.
On the other hand, I have seen this video:

and it helped me change my perspective and understand a different way of seeing/doing things. I would still argue in a way that trough tactics and strategies forms are inherently developped but as they are not trained specifically it wouldn't be a proper way of saying things.

I may also be wrong and have failed to understand what was meant regardless.

On a different/same note, I understand what he says and can agree with it up to a point. Reason I am saying up to a point is that a lot of Krav Maga seems to be using that model to teach and by the end of a curriculum most people end up fighting with relatively weak MMA skills and add a few groin shots/illegal moves to UFC and that is the result. Of course this is a stereotype but from what I have seen, someone with no knowledge of combat that just learns strategies and tactics will be not afraid to use those and be agressive when needs be but the ensuring it is as efficient as possible portion may not be there. Now, does it matter that the elbow is not at x angle when throwing the hook? Not at all, it is however helpful to know how to put power and torque behind that hook to ensure the person will react accordingly and the main subject can escape or call for help whichever....


I found it interesting that my opinion was disagreed with and wanted to know more. I now have a better/different understanding and properly see the light hahaha.

Thanks for sparking that curiosity in me, I never imagined other options were there. Goes to prove I am but a young puppy in this world.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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You do need forms as well as basics.
I believe the better training result is the key issue.

If your form has 40 moves. Instead of doing your form once, you can use that time to train your personal combo (such as side kick, hook punch, spin back fist, hook punch) 4 moves combo 10 times.

Which training will give you better result?

- Doing 40 moves form once? or
- Doing 4 moves combo 10 times?
 

Gyuki

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I believe the better training result is the key issue.

If your form has 40 moves. Instead of doing your form once, you can use that time to train your personal combo (such as side kick, hook punch, spin back fist, hook punch) 4 moves combo 10 times.

Which training will give you better result?

- Doing 40 moves form once? or
- Doing 4 moves combo 10 times?
Isn't the 4 move combo a form of it own? One that you prefer to use and have made yours.

I don't disagree with you at all, maybe my terminilogy is wrong as what I mean by form is a set pre arrange number of movements. That can range from 2 movements (a jab+cross) all the way to Kata (which may have 40 different movements but I see as different learning tool, mainly teaching/memory support for entire art).
I hope my way of seeing it and explaining what I mean makes sense. And sorry if I misunderstood the intial point of the question asked by poster. I can't disagree with your statement either. One has to find their own form and go with that
 

Tez3

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I have probably stated this before but...

The way I see it, doing kata correctly requires you to be quite strong, fast, and flexible. And if you are strong, fast, and flexible, you'd probably fair decently well in an altercation with an untrained dude about your same size. Same logic applies to any athlete, really (I personally would not want to square up with a soccer player, for example).
Have you watched many football games? Footballers fall over all the time without even being touched! It's the origin of the no touch KO.:joyful:
 

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On the other hand, I have seen this video:

and it helped me change my perspective and understand a different way of seeing/doing things. I would still argue in a way that trough tactics and strategies forms are inherently developped but as they are not trained specifically it wouldn't be a proper way of saying things.

I may also be wrong and have failed to understand what was meant regardless.

On a different/same note, I understand what he says and can agree with it up to a point. Reason I am saying up to a point is that a lot of Krav Maga seems to be using that model to teach and by the end of a curriculum most people end up fighting with relatively weak MMA skills and add a few groin shots/illegal moves to UFC and that is the result. Of course this is a stereotype but from what I have seen, someone with no knowledge of combat that just learns strategies and tactics will be not afraid to use those and be agressive when needs be but the ensuring it is as efficient as possible portion may not be there. Now, does it matter that the elbow is not at x angle when throwing the hook? Not at all, it is however helpful to know how to put power and torque behind that hook to ensure the person will react accordingly and the main subject can escape or call for help whichever....


I found it interesting that my opinion was disagreed with and wanted to know more. I now have a better/different understanding and properly see the light hahaha.

Thanks for sparking that curiosity in me, I never imagined other options were there. Goes to prove I am but a young puppy in this world.
This guy is all over the place a few points I disagree with and why.

1. Shows footage of pro fighters moving forward as their opponents are driven backwards in a mostly defensive and open position. This is dishonest for a few reasons. 1A. You can just as easily show footage of when an opponent moving backwards counters/KOs their opponent as they were moving forward in a similar fashion. 1B. Your opponent is "hurt" and the aggressing opponent is capitalizing on their vulnerable state. This scenario is very different from advancing towards a grounded/unhurt opponent to engage.

2. Bias, what we refer to it in kickboxing, is your alignment in comparison to your opponent's alignment is important to advantageous positioning. However, advantageous positioning is also gained by footwork, bias and proper body alignment.

3. Using the example of being completely behind your opponent in a striking situation is an amazing position to be in, too bad he couldn't show how to get there. I'd love to know

4. The "most striking classes" do their drills in place is painting with a broad brush. I've trained with multiple coaches/teachers and that's not the case from my experience. Maybe we just have a difference of experience with coaches.

5. Moving around with the pads is one drill to learn positioning. The holder will only let you throw the counter if you get to an advantageous position. From my experience this is common in boxing and kickboxing gyms.

6. Proper alignment with punching is important. I somewhat agree that nitpicking over a few degrees of difference is unnecessary. However, watch some of the Bare Knuckle boxing fight or even a few UFC fights and see what happens when their knuckles or shins are not in proper alignment at the moment of impact.

7. Putting your hands down doesn't make you better. There are both pro/cons to hands up/down. There isn't one ultimate fighting stance/posture. Plenty of footage of both examples, but he didn't include any.
 

Gyuki

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This guy is all over the place a few points I disagree with and why.

1. Shows footage of pro fighters moving forward as their opponents are driven backwards in a mostly defensive and open position. This is dishonest for a few reasons. 1A. You can just as easily show footage of when an opponent moving backwards counters/KOs their opponent as they were moving forward in a similar fashion. 1B. Your opponent is "hurt" and the aggressing opponent is capitalizing on their vulnerable state. This scenario is very different from advancing towards a grounded/unhurt opponent to engage.

2. Bias, what we refer to it in kickboxing, is your alignment in comparison to your opponent's alignment is important to advantageous positioning. However, advantageous positioning is also gained by footwork, bias and proper body alignment.

3. Using the example of being completely behind your opponent in a striking situation is an amazing position to be in, too bad he couldn't show how to get there. I'd love to know

4. The "most striking classes" do their drills in place is painting with a broad brush. I've trained with multiple coaches/teachers and that's not the case from my experience. Maybe we just have a difference of experience with coaches.

5. Moving around with the pads is one drill to learn positioning. The holder will only let you throw the counter if you get to an advantageous position. From my experience this is common in boxing and kickboxing gyms.

6. Proper alignment with punching is important. I somewhat agree that nitpicking over a few degrees of difference is unnecessary. However, watch some of the Bare Knuckle boxing fight or even a few UFC fights and see what happens when their knuckles or shins are not in proper alignment at the moment of impact.

7. Putting your hands down doesn't make you better. There are both pro/cons to hands up/down. There isn't one ultimate fighting stance/posture. Plenty of footage of both examples, but he didn't include any.
Which is why I was initially saying that "forms" (aka basics) were mandatory and one would end up having some regardless as any training would result in the person taking one form or another.

As per this gentleman's video, I think we have similar conclusion on what he says in general.

I do like that you bring the point of injuries. I have seen many who train in gloves only and when punching something without one they injure themselves. If one is to assume that self defense (which is ultimately the goal of most martial arts) is in question, gloves will not be a part of the equation. You are more then correct to say that one need to learn to have proper alignement to have efficient hits.

And yes from what I gather it is very difficult to gain positional advantage or strategies if an individual does not know how or even where to move...

But then again, my definition of forms and kata seems to be very different then most. As I simply view either as a series of movements. Some may call them drills (forms mainly) or basics, I see that in the end each martial artist creates their own forms according to their style (physiology, psychology), skills and preferences.

As per Kata I mentioned it earlier (in previous post) and do not wish to be over redundant.


This youtube creator likes to spark controversy with most of his videos. He sure doesn't know all but his input is interesting and usually leads to conversation...
 

Anarax

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This youtube creator likes to spark controversy with most of his videos. He sure doesn't know all but his input is interesting and usually leads to conversation...
I agree with you on his tactic to get views, I also like how it sparks conversation. However, I've seen this tactic with other content creators and they make stronger points and are somewhat more consistent. He seems to make broad statements with absolute certainty.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Correct yet incorrect. You do need forms as well as basics. The way to teach said basics and memorise them without an external supoport such as a book or video having kata is mandatory.

Having practiced various arts I can confirm that to learn all techniques by heart and have access to them from easy memory a kata is helpful. When learning drills and techniques seperately there is no issue to execute them or even have them flow (usually more freely) together.

To truly be considered a martial artist one needs to know their art inside out and be able to pass it entirely without any external support. And the best and simplest way to achieve that id via kata.

On the other hand, as a practitionner, one can focus only on one of the various aspect of martial arts and become extremely proficient in that; as in this case (and the only real thing that matters as per my opinion of martial arts) self defense in the real world. You sure don't need to learn kata to become good in that aspect. However I would like to posit that when at a higher level ones solo practice of a curriculum of self defense, if done without checking a cheat sheet or repeating movements more then once, would look very much like a kata.

So in the end, kata or something very similar will come out of any martial practice...


(I am not even talking about kata competition or that aspect as this is literally child's play and choreography for the sake of choreography.)


Which leads me to also question (sorry to offend) the reasoning of styles that have more then 10 15 kata. As one is to know the bunkai (at least one version of it) for every movement in every kata and be proficient with such movement, either I am an idiot but I cannot fathom to have that much knowledge and proficiency for 60 kata. At that point they are performed for other reasons then actual efficiency and integration into actual combat. Good for historical posterity and ensuring the passing down of knowledge(even tough it may be empty knowledge without said bunkai and true efficiency) in a cultural sense but not necessairly in a martial sense...

Thank you
Kata aren't mandatory, at all. Plenty of systems manage to deliver results without them.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Kata aren't mandatory, at all. Plenty of systems manage to deliver results without them.
Agree! if you know a set of combo drill, you can create as many forms as you want to.

- jab, jab, cross.
- jab, hook, hook.
- hook, hook, uppercut.
- hook, back fist, overhand.
- ...

To link your drills into a form can only help you to record the information (as to write a book). It won't help you anything else.

Which form do you want to spend more training time into it?

- The form that you learned from your teacher, or
- the form that you created yourself?
 
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Gyuki

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Agree! if you know a set of combo drill, you can create as many forms as you want to.

- jab, jab, cross.
- jab, hook, hook.
- hook, hook, uppercut.
- hook, back fist, overhand.
- ...

To link your drills into a form can only help you to record the information (as to write a book). It won't help you anything else.

Which form do you want to spend more training time into it?

- The form that you learned from your teacher, or
- the form that you created yourself?
Again, can't agree more with that.
The goal if one was to train his own forms in a Kata format might be to pass them on to others in the future. However since we do have access to technology it is possible for one to simply record such material or as you have mentioned write it down in a book.

Some may argue that being able to pass on an art without technological support is a requirement to be a complete martial artist, however when it comes to direct efficiency in combat, there are tools(which you mentioned a few)that are way more efficient than training kata for hours.
 

Oily Dragon

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Kata aren't mandatory, at all. Plenty of systems manage to deliver results without them.
Technically untrue.

The Chinese word "xing" in Mandarin or "jing" in Cantonese or Japanese "kun", "kata", simply means "pattern" or "shape".

If you can name a single system that doesn't teach some sort of pattern or model, well, then it's not a system. They all do. MMA is a system of kata, as much as Shaolinquan.
 

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